Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Fairfield trims site list for justice center

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - City Council narrowed the list of sites Monday for a new or expanded justice center from 11 to seven, including a controversial parcel near Village Green, the new downtown.

The Fairfield Justice Center is crowded in its current quarters, a former restaurant site on Ohio 4. About 45 male officers must share a single restroom and citizens at times must be interviewed in the parking lot for privacy.

City leaders have set a September deadline to decide whether to expand it or build a new one - and to solve the issue over where it should go. But a debate has emerged because some Fairfield City Council members want the facility to go on a piece of land the city already owns at Pleasant Avenue and Wessel Drive while others want to place it further away from Village Green.

"Any location along (Ohio) 4 that is centrally located really is a very positive alternative," Councilman Mike Snyder said.

Other possible locations include:

• An 18-acre site at Ohio Bypass 4 and Ohio 4

• A 6-acre parcel on Ohio 4 near Shared Harvest Food Bank

• A 20-plus acre site on Holden Boulevard across from Fairfield High School that the school district owns.

The city needs at least 5 acres for the new or expanded center. If city officials keep the justice facility at its current location, they likely would need to buy more land in that area.

To help council decide the best place for the justice facility, the city will pay for a market feasibility study of the Kroger site and the other areas downtown, including Village Green and Sandy Lane.

In other action Monday, Council approved an enterprise zone tax incentive for 10 years on 75 percent of real and property investments for Color Resolutions International. The Woodlawn-based manufacturer of water-based ink used in the commercial packaging industry has no room to expand at its current site and cannot renew its lease anyway, said Kimm Coyner, Fairfield's economic development director.

Color Resolutions, which employs 105 workers, will move to a 70,000-square-foot, $5.5 million facility that will rise on Quality Boulevard behind American Freightways.

Council also heard a report from city staff members on the parking problem at Village Green, especially since a new restaurant, Symmes Tavern on the Green, recently opened.

Cars have been packing the new downtown, a mix of shops, offices, a huge new Kroger store and the Lane Public Library.

There are excess parking spaces but more may be needed in the future. The city will continue conducting a study of the situation on weekend nights this spring and summer. Residents who live nearby will be asked to join a committee that will be formed on the issue.

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.

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